Publisher Profile

2006 VTV Expo: Part 2

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Audio Note

Audio Note Room 1, hosted by the hard-working Josh Turney of Audio Note USA

Peter Qvortrup exhibited two systems in two adjacent rooms. The first room was hosted by Josh Turney of Audio Note USA, Audio Note’s U.S. Distributor, who put together a relatively modest AN system consisted of the AN-E LX loudspeakers ($12,200/pair) in the same lacquered Makassa wood finish as on the $39k AN-E SEC Signature next door.

Josh’s analog side of the front-end included the TT1 turntable ($975), an Arm One C tonearm ($475) and an IQ3 cartridge ($800). The new Galahad-class M5 phono preamplifier ($10,000) and a pair of the new, low-gain, low-noise Quest Silver 300B monoblocks ($6,950) drove the AN-E LX. Interconnects were the silver AN-Vx ($980/meter) and speaker cables were the top copper Lexus ($178/meter).

The digital system was fronted by the CDT-Two/II CD transport ($4,650) and the DAC3. The latest DAC3 will be available in September and becomes the DAC3.1x Balanced ($6,475).

This system is relatively modest, because Audio Note produces such full line of products at all levels of price points, that the most affordable product is truly welcomed by audiophiles on a budget, and their most expensive stuff is truly made of the finest materials and conceived with the most elaborate and systematic technical know-how in the industry.

AN-E LX loudspeakers TT1 turntable, CDT-Two/II, M5 Phono, DAC3
Josh brought along a good collection of vinyl music, and the sound was full of nuances and dynamics. I, of course, brought my CD-R to see how the DAC3 would sound like. Having a pair of the earlier AN-E SEC Silver ($20k at that time, now $30,500 with outboard crossover), and having reviewed the $39k AN-E SEC Signature as well, I found the DAC3/M5/Quest Silver-coupled $12.2k AN-E LX no less discerning in dynamic and tonal contrasting. Such is the dilemma I am faced with: supremacy of my DAC5 Special and AN-E SEC Silver is most paramount only in the instance of direct comparisons. In a venue such as an audio show, anyone can recognize the level of refinement that even a relatively modest Audio Note system, such as the one in Josh Turney’s room, can conjure up that other companies can’t. If I hadn’t been a reviewer and wouldn’t need to have a reference-caliber system for evaluation purpose, this AN system at so many times less costly than my own would suffice decidedly.

Audio Note’s latest, low-gain, low-noise Quest Silver monoblocks

Next door sat a Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note, along with some of his most loyal friends and customers who came to chat with him. Among them is David Cope, the former U.S. Distributor who now takes care of the charge of the Marketing of AN. There is an informative blog site that David has been hosting for current and prospective AN users:

This room featured the $39k AN-E SEC Signature, the very pair that I reviewed in January, 2006. AN’s latest generation of loudspeakers features outboard crossovers, a practice that is seen by Peter and his engineers as advantageous in squeezing the last decibel of refinement out of each level of his speakers. If you had been in this room and Josh’s next door, you would’ve been witness to how dynamic and uncompressed these speakers could sing at all volumes.

Of course, Peter was using his top integrated amplifier, the 18Wpc, 211-based, $69,000 ONGAKU as a power amp, riding on the extended spectrum of the least compressed and least colored loudness as augmented by the $50,000, 3-chassis, M10 line preamplifier. So he played his usual German heavy-metal hard-rock via the CDT-Three ($7,500) and DAC5 Signature ($59,00) to his heart’s full content. He has to be the craziest and unorthodox old man alive, and being around him is always a mind-opening experience each time. In a way, I can see that only his killer tunes can showcase the level of potentials his speakers possess.

CDT-Three, M5 Phono, M10 (beneath), DAC5 Signature
(under CDT-Three)

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